Wow, this is a new one. I received an email inquiry this week about a wedding in Florida this fall. I responded back with my price list and informing this bride that I was located in Denver and their would be added costs for flights, hotels, and transportation. They wrote back and said that everything would be taken care of. I thought it was a little odd, but I have done destination weddings and have even done a shoot in a city 30 minutes from where this wedding was taking place, so I thought maybe it was a referral.
Something just did not feel right. The bride was asking questions that I do not normally get and something about it just seemed off. I did a little research and found a photographer in Nashville that received the same email word for word. Obviously, this was a money scam.
How on earth could they be scamming me out of money, if they are the customer and I am the seller. Why would I ever give them money? I dug a little deeper, and apparently they send you money for a deposit, but set you up with a travel agent, and you pay them for your flight and its in the contract that they reimburse you in the final payment. That would just be stupid business, but I assume some people fall for it.
Its unbelievable to me, that as a business owner, I now have to look out for people trying to pull money scams on me and are wasting my time with emails. Apparently, they are using online companies such as The Knot and WeddingWire to target photographers.
Hopefully, my fellow photographers will not fall for this and word will get out quickly.
As I said earlier, I did my first destination wedding in February. I did not expect to start shooting destination weddings this early in my career, but I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Cancun. I really enjoyed shooting there and I hope I get more opportunities to photograph weddings there in the future. I learned a lot bout how the resorts work when you book a wedding with them, which I think brides overlook.
Generally when you book a wedding at one of the destination resorts, the photographer is included in the package. I know everybody has different priorities, but obviously for me, photography would be at the top of my list. It is one of the few things you get tot take home from your wedding day and look at the rest of your lives. That being said, I would be very troubled by the photographer that the resorts provide. They will show you a portfolio with a few beautiful images, but you really have no idea who will show up the day of. Also, the photographers there show up for your ceremony and leave after they do a few bridal party shots afterwards. You miss out on lots of the photojournalistic images that we all love. No shots of you getting ready, no details, limited family, and limited reception.
No big deal, right? You will just bring your own photographer. Many resorts do not allow you to do this and do not allow other people to photograph the event. It is their way of getting you to buy more of their images. In fact, the bride that hired me in February had to change resorts so that I was allowed to photograph her wedding,
I am not saying that all resorts are like this, nor do I have anything against their local photographers, but I do thin that if you are serious about a destination wedding and photography is a high priority for you; it is definitely something to think about. Planning a wedding is very difficult and doing so out of the country adds more challenge. It is important to make a list of your priorities because you may have to give a little in certain areas to make room for higher ranked items.
I have been torn lately with how I feel about destination weddings. Do brides truly understand the pros and cons to them? I had my first experience with one back in February and I thought it was amazing. That being said, there were parts of it that I overlooked. I was quite surprised by how the total cost was very similar to a traditional wedding. Obviously, the size of your wedding is greatly reduced. If one were to have a traditional local wedding, they pure number of guests that are willing to attend will greatly increase a budget. Extra costs are affected at the reception when there is usually a price per head for dinner. Also, at a destination wedding, guests generally pay their own way. They are more willing to do this because they obviously get more out of it, a vacation. The cost of a honeymoon is no longer an added expense either. The wedding, reception, and honeymoon are all rolled into one final price.
Obviously, there are two sides to every story. Not everyone that one may want at their wedding will be able to make it. The reception is not quite the normal party that we think about when we think about all the good times we have experienced at past receptions. Finally, your honeymoon is more about spending time with family and friends instead of celebrating a new life together with your significant other.
Obviously when one travels to a specific destination, they will receive beautiful views as well as great weather. But, what happens when the weather does not go as planned? Certain destinations are not accustomed to foul weather as much as we are. Therefore, they really do not have a solid backup plan for bad weather. Most local weddings that would be affected by weather do have backup plans that they have utilized successfully many times. Also, beaches have one thing that I believe a lot of newly engaged overlook. High winds are normal on the beach. This can create difficulties that many of us forget about.
I think destination weddings are an amazing fit for the right couple, but definitely not for everybody. I hope that couples seek advice when thinking about planning a wedding at a far away venue to ensure it’s the right decision for them.
How does this all tie in to what I do? Check back real soon for a piece on how destination weddings affect the photography? It may be different than what you expect.
I photographed an engagement session last night that I was pleasantly surprised with how much fun I had. This client approached me before the session and described a real vintage feel that she was trying to achieve. This is definitely different then my natural style which is very modern with bright bold colors. I pride myself on being able to change my style to give every client the unique look that they are looking for, but still adding a little creative twist from me. I studied hard for this session and the clients picked a beautiful location at Evergreen Lake. It was the first time I was there and I certainly hope I will be back soon. After looking for inspiration for a vintage look in everything I saw, I feel like I successfully gave a unique look that will make these clients love their images. It also opened up new doors and hopefully broadened my portfolio to a point where I can attract new personalties of clients. I really owe a big thank you to these clients for trusting that I could successfully create something truly different then my norm and hopefully future clients will do the same. Keep an eye out on Facebook (facebook.com/travisjphotography) in the next day or two for a few images from this session.
After spending, the first 27 years of my life in Michigan, and the last 5 running my photography business there, I have decided to move everything to Denver. It feels like a high risk with a high reward. I hope my business flourishes in Denver as I was on the brink of really taking off in the Lansing, MI market. I know things will be difficult at first. Not just with my photography, but also with life. Being so far from all my family and all the friends I have had will take some getting use to. As far as the photography, so much of my business is word of mouth. Honestly, who wants to hire a photographer without a referral. We will get to more on that topic at a later date. I am really going to try to bring a custom experience to Denver. Custom packages and custom images. I think once I get a few clients out here, I can really offer them a different photography experience then what they are accustomed to and hopefully a new chapter will open up in both of our lives. – Travis